KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Longer Looks: Life After Zika; Reforming Medicare; Cures Explained; And Tom Price

Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.

The Cut: Life After Zika
Ianka Barbosa, 18, grew up in Campina Grande, Brazil, an impoverished northeastern city that’s been described as ground zero of the Zika epidemic. Her boyfriend, Thérsio Felipe Wanderley, 19, was also raised in Campina Grande. The son of a pastor, though generally “not a big church-goer,” he met Barbosa at church four years ago — he’d gone for his father’s birthday. Within two weeks, the couple was serious, and soon after, Barbosa became unexpectedly pregnant. They moved in together but didn’t marry, much to the chagrin of family members. Their son, Emanuel, was born on April 20, 2014: He was happy and energetic as an infant. (Peter Bauza, 12/6)

Pacific Standard: What’s The Matter With Medicare?
In 2017, the GOP will control the White House and both houses of Congress. Not surprisingly, reports are already emerging that Speaker Paul Ryan and his Republican cohorts (including, perhaps, the newly nominated secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price) intend to pursue Medicare reform. Though the president-elect vowed to leave Medicare unchanged during much of the 2016 campaign, his transition website now includes a promise to “[m]odernize Medicare so that it will be ready for the challenges with the coming retirement of the Baby Boom generation — and beyond.” (Dwyer Gunn, 12/2)

Vox: The Biggest Health Reform Bill Since Obamacare, Explained In 600 Words
After three years of wrangling, the Senate on Wednesday passed the biggest health reform bill since the Affordable Care Act, sending it on to President Obama to sign.The $6.3 billion 21st Century Cures Act is a controversial, bipartisan effort that’s been in the works since April 2014. As its name would suggest, it’s been touted as legislation that’ll help get medical cures to patients faster. (Julia Belluz, 12/2)

The Atlantic: Trump Nominates Tom Price To Undo Obamacare
Watching Tom Price warm up the crowd at Donald Trump’s health-themed campaign rally in rural Pennsylvania last month, I didn’t imagine that the representative from Georgia would soon take the helm of American health care.Price was energetic that day, though that did nothing to make him stand out among the four other Republican doctors-turned-politicians on the stage. Each beamed as he stepped to the mic to express his enthusiasm for Trump, Pence, America, and two-fisted uprooting of the Affordable Care Act. The men often contorted their faces when speaking the word “Obamacare,” as if it produced an acrid taste—though they used the term effusively. (James Hamblin, 12/1)

The New Yorker: Looking At How Abortion Restrictions Endanger Women’s Lives
In 2006, a Polish woman named Justyna heard a rumor about a new abortion pill. The thirty-year-old mother of three was eleven weeks along in a new pregnancy, and her marriage wasn’t going well. Abortion in Poland is illegal in most circumstances, but after several weeks she was able to get the pills. She took them at home, while her kids were down the hall. She didn’t tell anyone, not even her husband; she’s now divorced. “It took me two weeks to process all the feelings, but then I felt released,” she told the Spanish photographer Laia Abril. “I feel able to make my own decisions.” (Moira Donegan, 12/1)

Vox: I Had A Miscarriage. Fetal Burial Rules Would Only Amplify My Grief. 
My son would be turning 20 this month. He was due on December 15, 1996. But in June of 1996, when I was entering the second week of my second trimester, I had a miscarriage — in medical terms, a spontaneous abortion — while preparing to deliver a paper at a prestigious women’s history conference a thousand miles from home. (Lorraine Berry, 12/6)

Boston Globe: Why Do Some People Have Willpower And Others Don’t
When pressed, most health care practitioners will acknowledge that no matter how hard they try to help, patients must want to change before they can become their idealized selves ... “Willpower is our ability to resist temptation,” explains Jawaad Noor,a Boston University economics professor who specializes in decision theory. But managing to do that takes work. (Nanos, 12/1)

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